The last few months haven’t exactly been going according to plan, especially when it comes to reading. But, if 2020 has taught us anything at all, it’s that plans are never set in stone. I’ve been setting myself monthly reading lists for years, but this year, I have really not been sticking to them. So, this month, I thought I’d try something a little bit different. Instead of coming up with a short list and attempting to read all of them, I’m giving myself a long list of books to choose from. Hopefully giving myself a bit more flexibility in what I read helps me to read more (because I am very behind on my Goodreads goal for this year).

Also, since it is Nonfiction November, I’m hoping to read quite a bit of nonfiction. That said, here are the nonfiction books at the top of my list this month:

Grant by Ron Chernow

Yes, I’ve already started this one. But it got put on hold a month or so ago, and I really want to finish it. I enjoyed it so far, but, honestly, all of the anxiety in the lead-up to the election kind of made me want to avoid reading too much about politics. Or history about presidents who didn’t suck. Fingers crossed tomorrow doesn’t want to make me bash my head against a wall and I can finish this one.

Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Same goes for this book, which I started back in January. But reading about presidents who actually cared about people and got our country through some of our hardest moments was unfortunately making me really angry. I want to finish this before the end of the year, and ideally would like to do so with some hope for the near future.

White Fragility by Robin DeAngelo

This year, I’ve been making an effort to educate myself, especially when it comes to racial issues here in the US. It’s a big problem, and the more I learn the more I realize I have to learn. And I want to keep getting better. I acknowledge that this is an ongoing problem in our society, and I just really want to continue my own education so that I can be a better human.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Again, I am really hoping I’ll be in the mood for this one when it comes out in a few weeks. Either way, I do really want to read this. I genuinely miss Obama being in the White House (the world seemed less scary), and I know I’m going to love this book. I will always be proud of the fact that Obama was the first president I ever got to vote for.

The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth and Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine by Thomas Morris

You probably know by know that I like reading really weird nonfiction. Past topics have included plagues, dinosaurs, microbes, cremation, and zombifying parasites. Obviously, I have to read this, because I just need some new weird facts in my life. Also, fun fact: I recently had to have emergency wisdom tooth surgery because my dentist was worried one of them might explode. So, I need answers.

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery by Sam Kean

I have weirdly read quite a few books about medicine and the human brain. Possibly because I work in the neurology department of a large medical center (not a doctor), or maybe because I have MS (a disease which causes damage to my own brain). Either way, I think brains are fascinating and this sounds like a really interesting book.


Ok, that’s it for this month! There is no possible way I will finish all of these (because the Grant biography is over a thousand pages and I’m still finishing up The Stand, which is even longer). But I’m going to try! And most likely read some fiction. I have no idea what my mental state will be like after tomorrow, but hopefully we all survive Election Day this year and we can have a relatively good month.

What are you planning on reading this month? Do you have any nonfiction recommendations you think I should add to my list?

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